Senate okays bill on supervision of N-facilities

ISLAMABAD: The Senate approved on Thursday the National Command Authority Bill, 2010, aimed at ensuring proper control, supervision and safety of nuclear facilities, material and systems.

The bill already approved by the National Assembly will become an act of parliament after president’s assent.

The Senate rejected through voice vote a number of amendments proposed by the opposition.

Opposition members said there was need for a broad-based command authority and suggested that the leaders of opposition in the National Assembly and Senate should be included in the committee.

They suggested that the issues of non-proliferation and terrorism should be excluded from the ambit of the National Command Authority.

It was also proposed that the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court should not be completely excluded.

One member expressed surprise that the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, interior and finance would be members of the authority but the minister for science and technology would be out of it.

Prof Khursheed Ahmed objected to a clause requiring the director general of the authority to be a serving lieutenant general who might continue to be on the post after his retirement from the military for completion of assigned projects. He said the rule should not be person-specific and the words ‘director general’ should be followed by ‘or equivalent’.

Prof Mohammed Ibrahim said it was an open secret that the US had kidnapped a Russian scientist to develop its nuclear programme in the 1940s and had transferred the technology to the UK and France, but the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, Dr A.Q. Khan, was being victimised in the name of proliferation.

The house also approved the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill after an interesting debate.

Professor Ibrahim said earning livelihood was the responsibility of men and women should not go to offices.

His interpretation of Islamic injunctions evoked a strong response from several members and Seemeen Siddiqui of PML-Q asked what the women senators of religious parties were doing in the house.

“This is a clear contradiction. Their women senators should also stay at home if they so believe,” she said.

She said there were no such restrictions in Islam and pointed out that Hazrat Khadija (RA) ran her own business.

Afrasiab Khatak of ANP said those trying to stop women from working in the 21st century were not serving Islam. “We need to have a blend of traditions and innovation,” he said.

S.M. Zafar of PML-Q said the bill would give respect to women in line with Islamic injunctions. Gulshan Saeed said the bill would help improve the attitude towards women.

Maulana Mohammed Shirani said that if women did not wear veil and adorned themselves while going out, they would invite a crime. He said the bill should be discussed by a committee including ulema, women and legal experts.

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